By Cameron Silsbee
Begin with prayer
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment in silence, in the presence of Jesus and each other. Have one person read Exodus 31v1-5 over the group and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Debrief the previous Practice and the teaching from Jan. 28
- How did the Practice of Lectio Divina go in 2 Samual 22v1-20? What did you think of the Bible Project video?
- What stuck out to you about the teaching?
Read this overview
Have you ever had the experience of sitting in a movie theater after the credits start rolling, overcome with thoughts and feelings about how the movie speaks to your life? Or maybe it’s happened with a novel; the characters and the story say something meaningful about you and your life. You feel different afterward. Have you ever considered that God is present in those moments and that he may want to use the art for encouragement, conviction, or understanding?
Discuss the following questions and prompts
- Have you ever had an experience like the one described in the overview? If so, what happened?
- What art forms seem hard to think of as something God could use to speak to you? Which ones seem easiest to believe that about?
- How do you discern what art is appropriate to appreciate and what would be inappropriate for you?
Talk over this coming week’s Practice:
This week, incorporate art reflection into your practice of Lectio Divina as you read John 4v4-26 one to three times. Utilize the following guide as you practice Lectio Divina and art appreciation:
Prepare to meet with God: Turn your phone off and leave it in another room. Situate yourself comfortably in a quiet, solitary place. Calm your body and quiet your mind before God as you work to prepare your heart to receive what God has spoken through the text and to respond accordingly. Finally, invite the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking and feeling as you read.
Before reading the text, read through the following poem and reflect on a painting.
The Gaffe, by C.K. Williams. This poem explores the inner world of shame, regret, and confusion.
If that someone who’s me yet not me yet who judges me is always with me,
as he is, shouldn’t he have been there when I said so long ago that thing I said?
If he who rakes me with such not trivial shame for minor sins now were there then,
shouldn’t he have warned me he’d even now devastate me for my unpardonable affront?
I’m a child then, yet already I’ve composed this conscience-beast, who harries me:
is there anything else I can say with certainty about who I was, except that I, that he,
could already draw from infinitesimal transgressions complex chords of remorse,
and orchestrate ever undiminishing retribution from the hapless rest of myself?
The son of some friends of my parents has died, and my parents, paying their call,
take me along, and I’m sent out with the dead boy’s brother and some others to play.
We’re joking around, and some words come to my mind, which to my amazement are
said. How do you know when you can laugh when somebody dies, your brother dies?
is what’s said, and the others go quiet, the backyard goes quiet, everyone stares,
and I want to know now why that someone in me who’s me yet not me let me say it.
Shouldn’t he have told me the contrition cycle would from then be ever upon me,
it didn’t matter that I’d really only wanted to know how grief ends, and when?
I could hear the boy’s mother sobbing inside, then stopping, sobbing then stopping.
Was the end of her grief already there? Had her someone in her told her it would end?
Was her someone in her kinder to her, not tearing at her, as mine did, still does, me,
for guessing grief someday ends? Is that why her sobbing stopped sometimes?
She didn’t laugh, though, or I never heard her. How do you know when you can laugh?
Why couldn’t someone have been there in me not just to accuse me, but to explain?
The kids were playing again, I was playing, I didn’t hear anything more from inside.
The way now sometimes what’s in me is silent, too, and sometimes, though never really, forgets.
Spend a few minutes reflecting on this painting by Henryk Siemiradzki entitled Woman at the Well.
Read: Read the passage slowly and carefully. Take your time. As you move through the text, pay close attention to what words and ideas draw your attention uniquely. When your focus draws to a particular word or thought, pause momentarily to reflect on them.
Reflect: Upon completing the passage, reread the poem and reflect on the painting for a few minutes. Then, reread the passage. Allow it to connect with you on your second journey through the text. Which words or phrases assume a particular resonance in your heart, your season of life, your person in this moment? How do you find the poem and painting resonating with your experience of the passage? Do you find it challenging your assumptions about the scene depicted in the passage? How do you feel as you think about all three together?
Respond: Talk to God about your experience. If you’re confused, say that. Moved? Express gratitude to God. Upset? Tell him about it. Compelled to worship? Worship. If the text has brought something else to mind, talk to God.
Rest: Pause in God’s presence before fleeing from the moment. You might express wonder, awe, gratitude, or praise through words or allow yourself to feel and experience these things quietly before God.
Be prepared to share your experience of Lectio Divina and art appreciation with your Community next week.
Close in prayer
End in prayer by having one person read this poem from the Scriptures.
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
2 Timothy 2v11-13